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Gators try to get the bats going against LSU

GATORS BASEBALL

After beginning the season ranked No. 2 nationally, the now-No. 13 Gators haven't really lived up to the hype.

Their .243 batting average ranks second to last among SEC teams. But, manager Kevin O'Sullivan said the hitting will come around.

He wants his team to treat this weekend's three-game series with No. 4 LSU as a new start to the season.

"We just can't get frustrated. There's no time for it. It's a waste of energy," O'Sullivan said. "You know, think of it as a new season. There's nothing we can do about last weekend. It's done with."

Three of UF's offensive threats have cold bats right now. Mike Rivera (.192), J.J. Schwarz (.212) And Deacon Liput (.194) haven't impressed much in each of their last five games.

"Inevitably you always got a guy or two that's struggling, and you know, two other guys pick the offense up," O'Sullivan said. "But I'm not sure I've seen this many guys struggle at the same time."

"With the talent we have on our team, it wasn't -- we never expected this to happen to us," infielder Jonathan India said. "But, you know, we're fine. We'll get going soon. Everyone's gonna start hitting again."

Returning home to face a foe might change things up for this team, though.

"The fans are gonna help us out so much this weekend. The atmosphere and playing LSU -- that's a big rivalry," pitcher Brady Singer said. "We're still one team. A little frustration here and there, but we're still a team and we're always gonna play as a team. We'll always root for each other and get out there and try to win."

Injuries have played a role in the Gators' slow start to the season. Dalton Guthrie, usually a reliable hitter, now sits at the designated hitter spot after suffering some tenderness in his throwing shoulder. Austin Langworthy, the freshman who started the season with a bang, is out for five weeks after having surgery on his throwing hand.

Florida (14-8, 0-3 SEC) hosts LSU (17-5, 3-0) in McKethan Stadium. First pitch is Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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